Vale has begun commissioning the first of two iron ore pelletizing plants at its new industrial complex in Oman. Design capacity for each plant is 4.5 million mt/y of direct reduction pellets. The complex also includes a distribution center with capacity to handle 40 million mt/y. Combined capital cost for the pellet plants and distribution center is expected total $1.356 billion.

The Oman industrial complex is expected to add flexibility to Vale’s ability to cater to the growing demand for iron-ore products in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. The pelletizing plants are the first to be built by Vale that use Grate-Kiln furnace technology, aiming to provide consistent quality results and an end product with high compression, low abrasion and perfect roundness. Initial production from the first pellet plant is planned for March 2011, and the first shipment of pellets is scheduled for May 2011.

Port facilities at the industrial complex will be exclusively used and operated by Vale. The company has signed a long-term agreement with Oman Shipping Co. for the provision of four very large iron ore carriers, each with capacity to carry 400,000 mt.

During commissioning, the port is being tested by receiving imported pellet feed and anthracite, as well as locally supplied limestone.

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